In 2015, our favorite literary TED talks covered everything from poems about prime numbers to fantastical book art. In 2016, we’ve got another great list of literary TED talks for your watching pleasure. From superheroes to commas to language, there’s a lot to love here.
Christopher Bell: Bring on the female superheroes!
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John McWhorter: 4 reasons to learn a new language
Another for the language nerds. McWhorter is passionate about how language can help us change (and exercise) our minds, to learn more about new cultures, and that doing so is just fun. (And for even more language geekery, check out the equally-fun Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English.)
Javier Garcia del Moral: Why did we add a bar to our bookstore?
Moral talks on the history on bookstores that were crucial for encouraging growth in certain communities, as well as how we can encourage these places of learning, growth, and discovery today. (As he did with The Wild Detectives independent bookstore in Dallas). Bars in bookstores? Yes, let’s encourage that every day.
Ann Morgan: My year reading a book from every country in the world
Morgan undertook an intensive course of international reading that broadened her perspectives. She calls for all of us to re-examine our bookshelves to see where our stories are coming from and ask for more books in translation. (This one did come out in November 2015, but wasn’t covered in my 2015 list.)
Mary Norris: The nit-picking glory of the The New Yorker’s Comma Queen
I certainly don’t need to explain to you word-nerds why you should watch this video from a 30 year old veteran of commas at The New Yorker.
Joshua Prager: Wisdom from great writers on every year of life
Shonda Rhimes: My year of saying yes to everything
“For one year, I would say yes to all the things that scared me.” From there, Rhimes talks about how this changed her outlook, her family, and her creative flow. It’s a stunning talk from a fascinating woman who also captured these ideas in her book, Year of Yes. It’s one of my favorite literary TED talks from 2016.
Oscar Schwartz: Can a computer write poetry?
Schwartz’s discussion of poetry written by computers makes us think more deeply about what poetry and creativity is, and how computers could interact with our sacred poetry.
What were your favorite literary TED talks from 2016? Make sure to talk about ’em in the comments.